Jun 232012

Kimchi Fried Rice

          This is my new favorite thing.  Yes, I’ve said that before.  I’ve said it about Sweet Corn with Miso Butter and Bacon and about Purple Sticky Rice Pudding, among others.  I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, and again.  But this latest recipe truly is delicious.  It bursts with flavor, can be prepared quickly and easily, and for some reason is great fun to make.  It must be all that stir-frying and throwing in of ingredients.  A great spattering and steaming and fragrant concoction.

          I adore food that is both wonderfully delicious and composed of the most inexpensive ingredients.  (Yes, I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again in the future, because such food makes my little culinary heart go pitter patter.)  This recipe is my newest example.  Adapted from a recipe provided by Michael Natkin, it couldn’t cost any less to make.  Leftover rice, leftover veggies, along with kimchi, which can be acquired at any decent Asian grocery.  If you’ve never purchased kimchi, give it a try.  It can be found in the refrigerator section, packed in clear glass jars with white tops.  Its red, green, and orange hues are gorgeous.  You needn’t worry about buying an entire jar just for this one recipe.  It won’t go to waste.  Not only will you want to make this recipe again and again (trust me), but the kimchi is also fantastic by itself, eaten alongside a little plain rice.  (See Perfect Jasmine Rice, with Kimchi.)

          Paulo was out of town the first time I made this fried rice, so he wasn’t able to partake.  But now that he has returned (yay!) I am going to make it this evening for dinner.  We’ll eat on the deck as the sun goes down, sipping glasses of chilled Sauvignon Blanc.  (Surely that is the traditional choice of French wine for Korean peasant food, n’est-ce pas?)

 Kimchi Fried Rice

2 T oil

2 green onions, cut crosswise into 1-inch lengths

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3/4 raw or cooked vegetables, finely chopped (optional)

3 cups cooked brown or white rice (preferably refrigerated overnight)

3/4 cup kimchi, chopped

3 eggs, lightly beaten to blend (optional)

1 tsp sesame oil

Sriracha (optional)

          Heat the oil in a wok over a medium-high flame until the oil is quite hot.  Add the onions and stir for 15 seconds.  (Be careful, because the oil likely will splatter.)  Add the garlic and stir for another 5 seconds.  If using raw veggies, add them and stir until just cooked through, about 45 seconds.  Add the rice, sprinkle with some salt, and toss to coat evenly with the oil.

          At this point, slow down.  Stop stir-frying.  Allow the rice to brown on the bottom.  When it has, stir and toss it to redistribute, then allow it to sit there again, caramelizing on the bottom.  Repeat this process several more times at least, until the rice has browned throughout to your satisfaction.  (For me, this process took about 10 minutes.)  Add the chopped kimchi.  If using cooked veggies, add those now as well.  Stir often until heated through, a few more minutes.

          If using eggs, push the rice up the sides of the wok, leaving an empty space in the center.  Pour the beaten eggs into the center and stir until halfway scrambled.  Then mix the rice mixture and eggs together, stirring until the egg is fairly evenly distribute.  Add more salt, if needed.  Drizzle with the sesame oil.  Serve immediately, with hot sauce on the side, if you wish.

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